UK & World News
Man Mauled After Leaping Into Tiger's Lair
A visitor at a New York zoo was savagely attacked by a tiger after apparently jumping out of a train over animal enclosures and falling into a tiger's den.
Officials at Bronx Zoo say 25-year-old David Villalobos was alone with an 11-year-old male tiger, weighing around 400lb, for about 10 minutes in the Wild Asia enclosure before he was rescued.
The zoo's director, Jim Breheny, said that after leaping from the visitors' train, Mr Villalobos fell 17ft over a perimeter fence surrounding the enclosure.
He said the victim suffered bites and wounds on his arms, legs, shoulders and back, and also a broken arm and broken leg - possibly from the jump.
He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is said to be in a stable condition.
Mr Breheny said staff used a fire extinguisher to chase the tiger away, and told the man to roll under a electrified wire to escape further attack.
Zookeepers then managed to get the beast into a holding area where it usually sleeps.
Mr Breheny said: "If not for the quick response by our staff and their ability to perform well in emergency situations, the outcome would have been very different."
He said the tiger, which has been at the zoo for three years, "did nothing wrong" and "will not be euthanised".
A spokesman for the New York Fire Department said it was not immediately clear how the man ended up in the tiger's enclosure.
"The male was critically injured," he said.
"I don't know if he was bit or struck, but he has some very bad wounds to his back or torso."
The visitor train, which has open sides, travels over the Bronx River and through a forest, where it glides along the top edge of a fence, past elephants, deer and the tiger enclosure.
Bronx Zoo, one of America's largest, sprawls over 265 acres and contains hundreds of animals, many in habitats meant to resemble natural settings.